Philip wrote:The other aspect from pur objectivity is the plus and minus points of the aircraft.Had we just wanted 3-4,the deal woul've seemed reasonable,but not 10 and at what cost! The IL-76s are in excellent shape,they can very easily be upgraded at a fraction of the cost and have,as pointed out served India very well.IL-76 upgrade programmes are to be carried out in Russia.When we're upgrading virtually all our other IAF aircraft,it stands to reason to also upgrade the IL-76.This is not being "pro-Russia",just common sense.In addition,our Phalcon AWACS and IL-78 tankers recently bought and which flew to Europe and the US supporting our IAF Sukhois don't forget (perfomed splendidly didn't they?) are all based upon the same IL-76 platform! As said before,there are also several other far more urgent priorities for the IAF ,listed at length earlier,than the C-17s being bought just to please Boeing and Uncle Sam.
Its certain that the 17 Il-76s in the IAF should and need to be upgraded. The Russian Air Force has over 200 of these on inventory and began an upgrade program. In fact there is currently two engine upgrade programmes for the IL-76.
Here is a picture of one such upgraded Russian Il-76:
This particular aircraft was originally a 1991 IL-76MD. The aircraft is now fitted with Perm PS-90-76 engines. These are already certified and are the same as those fitted on the IAF's new A-50 AWACS aircraft.
NPO Saturn, the manufacturer that made the original IL-76 engine, the D-30KP, is also working on an upgraded model, the D-30KP-3 "Burlak" that is to meet Chapter IV noise and emission requirements at a cost, they claim, to be at a fraction of the cost of re-engining with PS-90s. This is because the basic original engine core is used and only the compressor stage is replaced with an upgraded on. The status of that program is displayed on NPO Saturn's website here:http://www.npo-saturn.ru/?pid=86
NPO Saturn claims there are still 750 IL-76s in the world. Its a huge market and there is no way these aircraft are going to go to waste, especially since, on the CIVILIAN MARKET, there is no competition since the Boeing C-17 is not certified as a civilian aircraft and cannot be used by airlines like the IL-76 is, even if they could afford it.
The reality is that the IL-76 is here to stay and it will still be around for decades. In comparison, there are only 26 Commercial An-124s in the world.
IAF's 6 IL-78s also need upgrading to better engines, especially because of the higher gross weight. The IL-76s take-off at 190 tonnes. The IL-78s take off at 210 tonnes, with the same engines.
As far as avionics and mission software: Any avionics can be installed in any aircraft and this can be done in India. Look at the glass cockpit of a modern, current production Cessna 172. This is the panel of a light single engine, 4 seater Cessna.
An IL-76 can be made to look like that too.
Here is the cockpit of the old C-5 Galaxy, as they were originally built
Here is the same aircraft with new avionics:
Here is the original C-130H Hercules cockpit:
Here is an upgraded C-130H Hercules. Same aircraft. New avionics:
Here is a CH-47D Chinook helicopter with original avionics:http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/6/7/7/1546776.jpg
A Belgian CH-47D Chinook with upgraded avionics:http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/9/8/3/0643389.jpg
Most CH-47Ds are upgraded model As, Bs and Cs that were built in the sixties. They are still flying and are now being upgraded to "F" standard. Most CH-47 in US Army inventory are at least 40 years old. But Americans call your IL-76s "ancient" because they want to sell you new C-17s.
So all Air Forces in the world upgrade their old machines to get more life out of them and at the very least install modern avionics in them, but India, which operates 17 IL-76s, 6 IL-78s and 3 A-50s, all based on the IL-76 airframe, is expected to retire its 1985-era IL-76 because they are "too old" and "nearing the end of their useful life" ? And intelligent Indians buy this?
The IAF can do the same with its IL-76s. At a fraction of the cost of buying new Boeing C-17s.
OK. An Il-76 can't haul a Arjun. But I have yet to see an Arjun, or a Leopard II or a Challenger II inside any C-17 either.